Hong Kong Disneyland was the Walt Disney company’s first move in a larger plan for an pivot to Asia. The move started before current Disney CEO Bob Iger came to power, but he’s continued the emphasis for sure. Many believe Hong Kong Disneyland wasn’t built with enough attractions and it never really managed to win over locals, crucial when indoctrinating locals to the Disney brand is part of the business plan. A series of expansions has helped a bit, but lately the thought was that the park needed to go big or go home. Hence today’s big announcement.
The Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong Government today announced plans for a multi-year expansion of Hong Kong Disneyland. The proposed $1.4 billion expansion underscores a commitment to the long-term success of the resort hoping to position Hong Kong Disneyland as a top international tourist destination. It looks to broaden the appeal of the resort and help it attract a diverse audience of all ages.
“We are more excited than ever about the future of Hong Kong Disneyland,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This proposed expansion brings the best of The Walt Disney Company to this wonderful tourist destination, giving guests an experience only Disney can deliver and infusing some of Disney’s most beloved characters and stories into this unique destination.”
Some of the new attractions and experiences that are designed to appeal to guests of Hong Kong Disneyland include:
A transformed Castle and Hub area to showcase new daytime and nighttime spectaculars and entertainment experiences. This is one of the areas where the park is going big. The clone of Disneyland’s sleeping beauty castle is gone and a new larger fantasy castle will take its place.
An all-new Frozen-themed land where guests can experience the characters and stories from the beloved films in ways never before at a Disney park. Here you see Oaken’s Sleigh Ride.
Dedicated Marvel themed area featuring exciting new Marvel attractions and entertainment from one of the most popular Super Hero franchises in history.
A new entertainment venue, Moana’s Village Festival in Adventureland, which will feature a lively stage show.
In addition, Iron Man Experience, Disney Parks’ first Marvel-themed ride, is set to open on January 11, 2017 and the resort’s third hotel, Disney Explorers Lodge, will open with 750 rooms later in the first half of the year.
Plans call for the expansion to be funded through cash equity injections from Hong Kong Disneyland’s shareholders – subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company and the Hong Kong Government – based on current ownership stakes, which are 47% and 53%, respectively. This means the share of the project cost to be funded by the Company and the Government will be approximately $650 million and $750 million, respectively. The two shareholders have agreed on the development plans, subject to funding approval by the Company’s Board of Directors and the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for their respective share of investment.
Looking at the map above, you can see the planned dates for each of these new areas. It’s going to take a couple years for the new areas to open. The Frozen land won’t open until 2020 and the Marvel expansion won’t open until 2023 (which seems like pretty far into the future to make an announcement, but when Avatar-land took 6 years, I guess it’s about right).
Will the new Hong Kong Disneyland entice you to plan a trip?